When sharing a computer with others, you may have a file or folder you may need to keep confidential. Depending on which version of Microsoft Windows is running on your computer, there are several ways to do this.
Windows computers have various types of security features; however, in most cases, the users do not necessarily know about them or how to deploy them.
Out of all the versions of Windows, it is only Windows XP operating system that enables users to password-protect files and folders in Windows directly.
Nevertheless, users of Windows Vista, Windows 7/8/ and 10 can do this, but protecting the selected folder you want requires a little more effort.
In this guide, you can learn everything you need to know about how to protect your folders in Windows 7 with a password and to use some third-party software.
Can You Put a Password on a Folder?
Because most versions of the Windows operating system don’t offer you a direct means of password protecting, we will show you how you can lock a folder for each Windows version you have up to Windows 10.
You have two versions of XP; one is professional, and the other the Home version. Here are the steps for an XP Pro version with more than one user account on that machine.
You can follow the steps here to protect a file and folder and help restrict access.
- Select the files/ folders you wish to encrypt.
- Right-click on the file or folder, then select ‘Properties’
- In the ‘General’ tab, Click the ‘Advanced’ button
- Check the box ‘Encrypt contents to secure data’
- Click Apply followed by OK
If you happen to see the ‘Encrypt…’ box greyed out, you can use a freeware app ‘TweakUI’ to fix this and enable this security feature to protect a file or folder.
- Download TweakUI and run the application
- In the TweakUI interface, click on Explorer
- To the right side, under ‘Settings,’ find the ‘Encrypt’ context menu setting. Check the box and click OK. Now you should be able to make the change.
Securing XP Home Folders
- Select the files/ folder you wish to secure
- Right-click and select properties, then select the ‘Sharing’ tab
- Check the ‘Make this folder private’ box
- Select Apply and then OK
Even if you can’t password protect folders right away, you can use TweakUI on other Windows versions to password protect folder and files, if you see the ‘Encrypt’ box has been greyed out.
However, other ways allow you to put password protection on your computer without changing any settings. (Read 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes Explained!)
How Can I Password Protect a Folder on My Hard Drive
If you check on the internet, you can find many options for password protecting your files and folders. Even some of the better-known Password Managers offer these file or folder options.
Here are a few options open to enable you to password-protect files and folders on any version of Windows.
- Last Pass
- Folder Lock
- Wise Folder Hider
- IObit protected folder
You will find these are just the tip of the bunch to secure files, and there are many more. While many are free, many are a paid-for option.
Furthermore, some come with additional software in their installation routine, so you do need to keep an eye on them as they install.
All these can help restrict access to files on Microsoft Windows or other OS if they support them. If you need more on your security, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You need to know that even with password protected files, it may not be enough to help stop a hacker. It is worse if you are sending information to another person.
They have many tools at their disposal, particularly on Windows systems because of its popularity.
Email Password Protected Folders
While you can use any of the above software to password lock your folders in Microsoft Windows, there can be times when you have to send such information to others.
It is here where 7 Zip can be used to password protect folder or file you wish to send over the internet.
Here you can see how to encrypt files and folders on your computer and send it to another person using 7Zip.
- Obtain a copy of 7Zip
- Install the app
- Right-click on your file or folders you want password protection
- In the context menu, select 7-Zip and then ‘Add to Archive’
- Once inside the Archive Window, you can change the name, and also make sure to change the format to Zip.
- Toward the bottom right of the window, change the Encryption method to AES-256
- Enter and confirm your password. Use at least 8-characters to make it harder for anyone to open
- Click on OK to create your secure archived file, which is found in the same folder as the original, which you can delete if you want
AES is the same encryption used by your VPN; thus, anyone trying to break in will have two very sturdy and almost unbreakable forms of encryption.
It is worth noting, you can still open this zip file while it is on your computer, and it is just on a recipient computer where they have to enter a password that comes into play. You can also send this file to any person on any device supporting the zip format, not only a Windows PC.
You can still try one of the apps for security, or go through the Microsoft Windows settings to put a password on your zip file to add security, help stop unauthorised access, and lock your file or folder.